Ideas for your next outdoor adventure

Ideas for your next outdoor adventure

Enjoy the warm weather and explore the outdoors

Warmer weather is here, and it’s the perfect time to explore the outdoors. Duke Energy gives more than $30 million in grants each year – many of them to projects that support species conservation, habitat restoration and water quality and access.

If you’re looking for new places to hike, swim, bike or spot wildlife, here are a few parks and trails that have benefitted from Duke Energy grants and volunteers in each of the states it serves.

Florida

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Singing Tower at Bok Tower Gardens

What? Bok Tower Gardens

Where? Lake Wales

What makes it special?

Meander more than 50 acres of paved and mulch pathways through ferns, palms, oaks and pines with seasonal bursts of color from azaleas, camellias and magnolias. The gardens are part of the Great Florida Birding Trail and are home to more than 120 species of birds, the threatened gopher tortoise and endangered indigo snake. There’s art, too. Wander the halls of the Pinewood Estate mansion and hear the Singing Tower carillon bells sing.

Details: https://boktowergardens.org/. General admission covers access to all garden areas, the children’s garden and a 3.5-mile pine trail.

Indiana

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Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve

What? Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve

Where? Ellettsville

What makes it special?

The preserve is the first wetland in Indiana to be recognized as a Wetland of Distinction, one of the world’s most valuable wetland ecosystems. It was selected for its forests and marshes, biodiversity, wildlife habitat and public access. When construction is complete this summer, visitors will be able to spot more than 80 species of birds, including bald eagles, rare snakes and frogs from a 2-mile trail with raised boardwalk and observation decks over the wetland.

Details: https://www.visitbloomington.com/listing/beanblossom-bottoms-nature-preserve/1854/

Kentucky

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Highland Hills Park

What? Fort Thomas Tree Trail

Where? Ft. Thomas

What makes it special?

Hike this roughly 1-mile trail through an old-growth forest to see trees that are more than 100 years old. With moderate hills, it’s a great workout, and you can print a map of landmark trees for spotting. For the past several years, Duke Energy employees volunteered to improve this trail and nearby Highland Hills Park.

Details: https://cincinnatiusa.com/things-to-do/attractions/fort-thomas-landmark-tree-trail

North Carolina

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Longleaf pine savanna at Holly Shelter Game Land

What? Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Holly Shelter Game Land

Where? Wilmington

What makes it special?

This 19-mile stretch of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail features one of the Southeast’s most beautiful examples of the longleaf pine savanna. The packed-sand trail is great for biking, and it’s open to vehicles outside hunting season (consult N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission for dates). You’re bound to see wildlife as this remote landscape is home to turkey, heron, deer, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

Details: https://mountainstoseatrail.org/the-trail/segments/

Ohio

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Little Duck Creek Trail

What? Little Duck Creek Trail

Where? Madisonville

What makes it special?

A short trail in an urban setting provides easy-to-access tranquility and wildlife habitat. Duke Energy provided a grant to clear the trail of invasive species, which will improve walkability and make room for new, native growth.   

Details: https://www.facebook.com/LDCTrail/

South Carolina

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The recently restored lake at Paris Mountain State Park's Camp Buckhorn

What? Paris Mountain State Park

Where? Greenville

What makes it special?

A short drive from downtown, visit Paris Mountain State Park for miles of hiking, history, swimming and camping. Camp Buckhorn, a Civilian Conservation Corps camp site created in 1939, was recently restored to its natural beauty with improved habitat for fish and thousands of migratory birds.

Details: https://southcarolinaparks.com/paris-mountain

Tennessee

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Nature Center at Warner Parks

What? Warner Parks

Where? Nashville

What makes it special?

Edwin and Percy Warner Parks cover about 3,100 acres of land making it one of the largest municipal parks in the state. It has several amenities including a nature center, dog park, and horse, bike and running trails. Several events are held throughout the year including the Piedmont Natural Gas-sponsored Full Moon Pickin’ Parties – a bluegrass concert held one Friday a month between May and October with proceeds benefitting the park and educational programs.

Details: https://warnerparks.org/

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